Here’s a round-up of Halloween Cocktails.
Here’s a round-up of Halloween Cocktails.
It’s getting cold out there, so naturally DIY Cocktails and I had to make a warm fall cocktail. Introducing the Hot Buttered Pumpkin Rum.
This cocktail is Hot Buttered Rum with pumpkin and spices in it. It’s almost like combining pumpkin batter with a rum cocktail, which is to say sweet and buttery and warm and pleasant.
I was concerned that using canned pumpkin would make this drink too thick, or worse, that the pumpkin would settle on the bottom of the glass, but neither thing happened. Hot Buttered Pumpkin Rum was just the right consistency. It would be great to have on a cold evening while sitting in front of a fire.
Hot Buttered Pumpkin Rum
(Makes one cocktail)
Combine the pumpkin and spices in a mug and mix thoroughly so that they are completely integrated. Add the rum. Put the butter on top so it is floating in the rum. Carefully pour hot water over the drink. Stir with a cinnamon stick or spoon. Enjoy!
Mascarpone is an Italian cheese that is a mix between whip cream and cream cheese. It’s delicious and easy to make, as I learned recently when I made my own.
Most cheese takes special ingredients like Themo B powdered thermophilic starter culture. Mascarpone, on the other hand, uses cream, lemon, and powdered milk, like the kind I used in the DIY Hot Chocolate recipe.
The mascarpone recipe I used was from Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin. The book is kind of fussy so I wasn’t sure what to think of the recipe. Because it uses an entire lemon, I thought the cheese would taste like lemon, but it was like mascarpone is supposed to be: creamy and cheesy, begging you to use it in desserts or any number of Italian dishes.
Mascarpone is expensive, about $5.99 for an 8 oz container. This cheese cost me $3, so I’ll probably be making it from here on out.
Mascarpone Cheese from Artisan Cheese Making at Home
Whisk the cream and powdered milk togehter in a nonreactive saucepan.
Slowly heat the mixture up to 180 degrees over 40 minutes. Monitor the temperature carefully on low. Don’t be afraid to turn off the burner if the temperature starts to go up too quickly. (I told you this book was fussy.)
When it reaches 180 degrees, turn off the heat.
Squeeze half the juice into the cream. Stir until the cream coagulates. When that happens, it will thicken and stick to the spoon. You will start to see flecks of solids in the cream.
Add the rest of the juice to the cream and stir.
Cover, let sit overnight (8 hours) in the fridge. I actually forgot mine for 24 hours and it was fine.
When you look again, you should have somehing resembling mascarpone. If you still see liquid, transfer to a collander lined with a cheesecloth. Twist and squeeze the ball to get out the excess whey.
And then, the cheese is done! Eat within a few days, and enjoy.
I like this Monster Eye Cake. The eyes are Oreo cookies and Junior Mints.
Great for a Halloween party.
Behold! Homemade Pumpkin Spice Bourbon.
Like my coconut vodka, this was insanely easy to make. All it took was regular pumpkin pies spices–cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove–bourbon, and time.
The result is bourbon with a tasty pumpkin pie undertone and a nice lingering finish. Great for sipping and for cocktails too.
(You’ll notice there is no pumpkin in this recipe. I did try the bourbon with some canned pumpkin, but it didn’t add much flavor to the recipe. It just made the bourbon harder to strain.)
Pumpkin Spice Bourbon
Combine all spices and the bourbon in a glass jar. Put the lid on and shake thoroughly. Let sit for 3 days and taste. If you’re happy with the spice flavor, line a colander with a cheese cloth and strain the bourbon through to a clean jar or bottle. The cheese cloth will collect any extra spices from the bourbon.
Fall makes me think of hot chocolate. And it turns out that hot chocolate mix is easy to make. All it takes is three ingredients you can get in the baking aisle of any grocery store: dried milk, cocoa, and sugar. Mix them together (recipe below), add hot water or milk, and you have hot chocolate that tastes as good as the brand stuff.
There are several advantages to making your own hot chocolate.
* It only has three ingredients. The box of Swiss Miss I bought for taste comparisons has 13 ingredients, including corn syrup, diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, and others.
* You can doctor it up and experiment with flavoring–add vanilla or pumpkin pie spice or whatever else sounds good.
* No more boxes of hot chocolate sitting in the back of your cupboard. I hate that! This recipe uses common baking ingredients you probably already have on hand, which means more room in the pantry.
But does making your own hot chocolate mix save you money? I ran the numbers on this several times. It looks like making my own hot chocolate cost me $.30 a serving, while a packet of Swiss Miss costs $.35 a serving. In the grand scheme of things, a nickel isn’t much of a savings, unless you drink a ton of hot chocolate. However, you could probably cut costs further by buying the cocoa and dried milk in bulk. I’ll look into that and report back.
Here’s the recipe:
DIY Hot Chocolate
(Makes one serving)
In a cup, mix all the dry ingredients together. Heat the milk or water and add to the dried ingredients. Stir until the mix is dissolved. Enjoy!
It’s October, my favorite month! Let’s celebrate with an Apple Brown Bourbon.
This new cocktail with DIY Cocktails uses apple juice, maple syrup, and bourbon. The drink is sweet but not cloying, bright, and spiced without being spicy. It tastes like an apple dessert in a glass.
Apple Brown Bourbon
(makes one cocktail)
Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Enjoy!
Oh man, talk about decadent: Glazed Doughnut Bread Pudding. This is a good way to use up stale doughnuts.
In the post about DIY pizza dough, I explained that I make a big batch of pizza dough, divide it up, and freeze it in balls. When I want pizza, I pull out one of the doughs, let it defrost, and then make a pizza.
I do a similar thing with the pizza sauce. I make a big batch and then I freeze it in a muffin tins. This makes a “puck” of pizza sauce of about 1/4 cup each, just about the perfect amount for a 13″ pizza. Then I put the sauce pucks in a plastic bag and freeze.
When it’s time to make the pizza, I pull out one of the pucks and defrost it in the microwave before spreading on the pizza. This allows me to have pizza sauce ready for whenever I want to make a pizza.
I use fresh tomatoes for my sauce, but canned tomatoes work just as well. Just substitute one large 28-oz can instead of fresh. The other trick to pizza sauce is to make sure you blend it so that it is a smooth texture. You don’t want pizza sauce to be chunky.
Here’s the recipe:
(Makes 6-8 cups of sauce)
Chop the tomatoes, being sure to reserve the juices.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil and the garlic together. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the onions and cook until soft. Add the pepper flakes and let sizzle in the oil for about 30 seconds. Mix into the onions.
Pour the tomatoes and their juices into the pot. Add the zucchini. Stir.
Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to medium high. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce reduces to about half. You want most of the water to have evaporated and the sauce to have a similar consistency to canned marinara.
Working in batches, transfer the sauce into a blender and blend until there are no chunks in the sauce. Transfer back to the pot and taste. Salt until the sauce tastes the way you want.
To freeze, ladle the sauce into a muffin tin. Freeze until hard. Remove the pucks from the muffin tin by gently running warm water along the back of the muffin tin and transfer to a freezer-safe container.
To use, remove a puck and defrost. Spread on a pizza. Enjoy!